Euro crisis: “It’s politics without policy choice…”

The pressure is definitely beginning to tell on the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso at the G20 summit in Mexico.   No news yet from Greece, and the markets are still betting against Spain.  He may, as he claims, have a “vision of where we need to go“, or he may, as Michael White says, be sticking his head in the sand.  In any case, at Crooked Timber Niamh Hardiman has been looking more closely at the end-game for the political trilemma. … Read more

“The JHA Council’s approach of 7 June represents a slap in the face of parliamentary democracy”

If the euro crisis wasn’t enough of a concern for supporters of the European Project, the attempted reform of Schengen is causing another headache.  The European Parliament has now suspended co-operation with the European Council on five draft bills connected to border security “until a satisfactory outcome is achieved on Schengen governance.” The Conference of Presidents also decided to remove from the July plenary session agenda the Carlos Coelho report on a proposal for a Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism and the Renate Weber … Read more

“Mr Varadkar said Ireland and Britain could become a ‘mini-Schengen'”

The Irish Times reports some odd comments by the Irish Government Tourism and Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar, at a meeting of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly at Leinster House in Dublin.  Odd, that is, given what we already know.  From the Irish Times report Mr Varadkar said tourists and business visitors should not be forced to source one set of travel papers for the UK and a second set for th Republic. “This means that there are real opportunities to … Read more

“At present persons granted an Irish visa are not permitted to use that visa to travel to the UK.”

Not that we didn’t already know that…  However, the Northern Ireland Tourism Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, fielded a number of NI Assembly questions back in Feb/March on the issue of the Irish Government’s “Visa Waiver Scheme for nationals of 16 countries who hold a valid visa for entry into the United Kingdom.” Here is one of her answers I discussed this issue with Hugo Swire, NIO Minister of State last month. The Republic of Ireland, ROI, introduced a visa … Read more

“The Common Travel Area is only for the benefit of Irish citizens and British nationals”

We never did have that reasoned debate about Schengen…  The Irish Times reports that a Dublin High Court judge has pointed out that Foreign tourists who leave the Republic for a day trip to Northern Ireland, without a passport or visa to enter the UK could, under Irish immigration laws, be refused permission to re-enter the Republic, a judge warned yesterday. The case involves a Bolivian couple, but in the absence of Schengen, it would seem to apply to all non-British … Read more

EU crisis: “the question is whether all this can be kept under control.”

EU leaders will discuss the proposed revision of the Schengen agreement at a summit next month, as prompted by France and Italy – although the Guardian reported that, at a meeting of EU interior ministers, “15 of the 22 EU states which had signed up to Schengen supported the move, with only four resisting”. Meanwhile, the European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, has written a strongly worded letter to the Danish prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, warning against the Danish Government’s proposals to unilaterally re-introduce … Read more

“We can’t separate Denmark’s announcement from the wider context of what we’ve been seeing the past few weeks”

Another example of domestic political pressure potentially impinging on the “European project”.  This time in Denmark, a member of the Schengen zone, where the government has announced the re-introduction of border guards and spot checks “designed to fight crime and illegal immigration”. From the Wall Street Journal report In Denmark, the issue of tighter border control has become a political bargaining chip. The governing center-right minority government, which consists of a coalition between the Conservatives and liberal-right party Venstre, wants to … Read more

“border control and Schengen governance need to be strengthened to prevent irregular migration”

In the Irish Times Arthur Beesley reports on the European Commission’s recommendations following France and Italy’s call for reform of the Schengen Agreement.  From the Irish Times Formal legislative proposals to revise the Schengen system are likely within the next two months, according a communique on migration [Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström] issued yesterday. Her paper also calls for the relaxation in emergency situations of the rules under which applications for asylum must be processed in the EU country of first … Read more

“Civilised Europeans could indeed transcend boundaries – but the ‘barbarians’ would be kept resolutely beyond them.”

In the Irish Times Arthur Beesley suggests that the outcome of any review of the Schengen Agreement, as recently called for by France and Italy, will lead to tighter controls of external EU borders – at a time when non-EU countries, particularly in northern Africa,  face increasing civil unrest.  From the Irish Times report …temporary [internal EU] border controls can already be introduced under the existing regime. All that is required to waive the rules for 30 days is the declaration of a “serious threat” … Read more

Euro crisis: “the EU is setting itself up for failure”

In a lengthy article posted at Crooked Timber, John Quiggin and Henry Farrell argue that By concentrating on its economic problems but ignoring their political consequences, the EU is setting itself up for failure. The case for austerity does not make sense. And if the EU fails to deal with the political fallout of its own institutional weaknesses, it is going to collapse. No political body can force voters to repeatedly shoulder the costs of adjustment on their own and expect … Read more

A united archipelago..

With the number of countries implementing the Schengen agreement now increased to 24, the Irish Times tries, once again, to start a reasoned debate on whether the Republic of Ireland should also join. From Monday’s editorial [subs req] “On the map of the Schengen area Ireland and Britain are conspicuous absentees on the west of the continent, along with the main Balkan states, Turkey, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Moldova and Russia to the east. New lines are being drawn. Asked recently whether … Read more

So sign up to Schengen…

The most interesting point to emerge from today’s optically orientated 9th meeting of the British Irish Council wasn’t the quibbling about the financial package – it ain’t going to change significantly – it was the mention of gaps in security, which Dermot Ahern stated was referring to the Schengen Agreement.. and Gordon Brown agrees. The Alliance Party have previously made mention of this Agreement but the focus appears to be on different proposals than those presented by that party. [It … Read more